Arai: Other new features can also be found in the user interface of the 2009 line. I helped implement a feature that turns the frame on and off automatically.* You can program when the frame goes on and off each day of the week. For example, there's no need to keep a frame in your living room on overnight. Or on weekends, having a frame on your office desk automatically switched off is better for the environment. For users who value eco-friendly products, I think it's a thoughtful, convenient feature.
You might not think the feature is needed, particularly on X series frames, which have physical buttons you can use to control the power. But besides improving energy efficiency, the feature resolves the matter of whether owners will take the time to turn the frame on again, once it's off. We might have an impulse to turn on a television or stereo, but for digital photo frames, it's a different story. Even I never really knew whether I would make the effort to turn my frame on every morning. But without a doubt, I'm happier when images are already playing when I wake up, and it makes my day a little more enjoyable. By chance, I notice images I didn't really have a chance to see, and I reminisce. It also inspires me to take more photos. Now there's an effortless way to enjoy these photos and memories every day. That's the true value of the auto on/off feature.
Here's another nice touch: settings can be adjusted in portrait orientation. After you take the frame off a wall, for example, there's no need to rotate the frame. You probably won't be changing the settings on a digital photo frame as often as you adjust other products. But those rare times you do, we wanted to support you with user-friendly design, so we made the extra effort.
Akita: A few color options are available in the "S-Frame" line. Black, white, and brown are offered in Japan. Overseas, it's also offered in red. Each color was carefully chosen to complement most interior decor.
Although they're all traditional colors, there's a reason for this. The "S-Frame" line is especially popular as gifts, and when shopping for others, people tend to avoid colors that are likely to please some people but not others. This was our foremost consideration when deciding the colors.
But picking a color should also be enjoyable. Brown and red frames go well in many settings and expand your options, in consideration of personal tastes. The color palette also matches "Cyber-shot" cameras, for a sense of consistency throughout the experience of shooting and viewing photos.
In each color, we were meticulous about achieving the ideal hue. Cut corners in color design, and you wind up with products that look "heavy" and cheap. Instead, we had specific finishes in mind. Brown and red with a luxurious sheen and depth. Porcelain white. The hue and balance are adjusted through several coats.
Ishii: We mentioned that the frames are popular as gifts, so I should add that the packaging was developed with gift-giving in mind. Remove the outer box, and you'll see another box inside. We did this so that people can buy a frame and add digital photos to it before giving it to a friend or loved one. And because the gift box reflects the sentiment of the giver, we include protective cushioning made of molded, colored recycled material instead of cheap cardboard.
When the "S-Frame" is used or given as a gift, it ceases to be just another product. For some people, it represents memories, and for others, a message of gratitude or encouragement that can't be expressed in words. Maybe what we actually sought to design here was these intangible experiences.